A picture of the new nano-SIM card being shipped out in Germany was published on Tuesday by German-language site iFun.de (translation). Letters being sent out with the new nano-SIM cards indicate they are intended for "the latest generation of smartphones," but do not mention the iPhone specifically.
Apple's next-generation iPhone is rumored to feature a nano-SIM slot that's roughly 40 percent smaller than current micro-SIM cards. The new design should allow smartphone makers like Apple greater flexibility when designing handsets.
The nano-SIM was a point of controversy earlier this year, when Nokia objected to Apple's design. The Finnish company argued that the design violated a "no jamming" rule because its length was too similar to the width of current-generation micro-SIMs.
Apple responded in May by slightly adjusting the dimensions of card by adding a small amount of plastic around the edges of the electrical contacts, making the new nano-SIM just long enough so that it can't be forced lengthwise into an incompatible socket.
Apple's nano-SIM design was selected by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute in June as the fourth official form factor for the SIM card standard. In July it was said that European wireless operators were placing orders for nano-SIM cards in anticipation of Apple's next iPhone, but Tuesday's leak is the first evidence of an official carrier nano-SIM card in the wild.